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Understanding the warning signs of abuse when children are most vulnerable

Three smiling people wearing headphones sit at a table in a radio talk studio: A woman back left has her dark hair in a ponytail and is wearing a blue and white patterned blouse and a grey sweater; a woman back right has short, curly dark hair and is wearing glasses, a blue top, and a tan jacket; a man front right has short dark hair and is wearing a blue vest and a white shirt.
Gary Pudup
Sayeh Rivazfar and Daniele Lyman-Torres on "Connections with Evan Dawson" on Tuesday, April 23, 2024

This conversation will explore difficult subjects that may not be appropriate for some listeners.

Retired New York State Police Investigator Sayeh Rivazfar says she’s a “fighter” when she shares the horrific story of her childhood.

At the age of eight, Rivazfar was abused, raped, and attacked with a knife by her mother’s boyfriend. That man also killed her then six-year-old sister when Rivazfar was just steps away.

"There will be times in your life that it feels like you can't get above it," Rivazfar has told students. "But I'm telling you, I surrounded myself with positive people and positive things and I fought. I kept fighting to push through and move on. I'm telling you what, it has not failed me yet."

Now a board member for Bivona Child Advocacy Center, Rivazfar works to prevent other children from experiencing abuse, while raising awareness of the issue among the public. She joins us this hour to share her story. We also talk with the CEO of Bivona about the latest with the organization’s work in the community.

Our guests:

Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.